10 Tips to Winterize Your House and Protect It from Storms

We hear from a lot of homeowners that they take action and prepare their homes for the winter—after the first storm has hit. So here is a handy list of preventative ways to ensure that your house is still standing (and leak free) after any winter storm.

But first, according to the Red Cross, these are the different types of winter warnings you may hear about that you should be familiar with:

  • Winter Weather Advisory - Weather conditions will be slight to hazardous, but generally not life threatening when you use caution.
  • Winter Storm Outlook - Storm conditions will likely arise within 2-5 days.
  • Winter Storm Watch - Storm conditions will likely arise within 36-48 hours. Make sure you’re prepared.
  • Winter Storm Warning - Severe storm conditions will hit within 24 hours. Take precautions now if you’re in a warning area.

Here are 10 tips for winterizing your home:

  1. This goes without saying, but if you have a leaky roof, take care of it before the rainy season. In fact, if the coming winter looks to be an especially snowy or rainy one, it’s a good idea to have an exteriors contractor give your roof the once-over to ensure that it’s in good condition.
  2. Clean your gutters to prevent clogging. A buildup of leaves will quickly create a dam up on your roof.
  3. If your house is surrounded by trees, trim any branches that could break off onto your roof with a heavy buildup of snow.
  4. Make sure you close the flue in your fireplace when not in use.
  5. Place insulation sleeves on the water pipes in your basement to keep them warm.
  6. Clean or replace your furnace filter to prevent restricted airflow. Ideally you should be doing this once a month in the winter season.
  7. While you want to insulate the rest of the house to keep heat in, if you have a flat roof, you might want to ventilate the attic. Why? A cold attic means that snow and ice on the roof won’t melt and cause damage.
  8. Install storm windows or energy-efficient double-glazed windows—especially if you’ve had your current windows for more than 10 years.
  9. Caulk all windows whether or not they feel drafty.
  10. Apply weather stripping around your doors whether or not they feel drafty. This and the above point will help keep your energy bill low, too. An easy fix is to stick a draft snake (or draft stopper) or a rolled towel under a drafty door or window. Here are some fun ideas for draft snakes (don't worry, no real snakes are involved!).